A 12-year-old from Corona was eliminated in the fifth round of the 93rd Scripps National Spelling Bee Tuesday.
Lara Randhawa was asked “What does a trousseau consist of?” and gave an incorrect answer. The correct choice was clothes and other belongings of a bride.
“I’m disappointed but I enjoyed competing in the bee,” Lara told City News Service in an email interview. “The word meaning rounds this year were very challenging and added another degree of difficulty and luck.
“I knew how to spell the word trousseau but did not know the meaning and unfortunately picked the wrong choice. Luck is a known part of the bee and I plan on working to improve my vocabulary.”
The youngster, who finished in a 16-way tie for 43rd from the original field of 209, began Tuesday’s quarterfinals by correctly spelling ursiform, an adjective meaning having the form or appearance of a bear.
Lara, who completed the seventh grade at Auburndale Intermediate School in Corona this month, will have one more opportunity to compete in the national bee, which is limited to students who are in eighth grade or lower on Aug. 31 of the year preceding the competition.
She correctly spelled both her words and answered the word meaning question correctly during Saturday’s preliminaries, when the field was reduced to 75. Another 17 spellers spelled their fourth-round word incorrectly.
The second round of each level of the competition — the preliminaries, quarterfinals, semifinals and finals — is a word meaning round, requiring the speller to orally select the correct multiple choice answer to a vocabulary question read by the pronouncer.
This new element of the competition is designed to challenge the spellers and further advance the bee’s focus on word knowledge and literacy.
Questions have been prepared by noted linguist and lexicographer Ben Zimmer, language columnist for The Wall Street Journal. The speller has 30 seconds to view the question and the three answer choices. The speller must answer correctly within the time limit to move on to the next round of competition.
The bee will resume June 27 with the semifinals. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, all competition through the semifinals will be held on a virtual basis. The top 10-12 finalists will travel to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Florida for the finals, which will be held July 8.
No speller from Riverside County has won the bee. Lara’s older sister Aisha tied for 15th in the 2019 bee.
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